Saturday, June 12, 2010

Clu Gulager as "Vic"

I always liked Clu Gulager. No matter how straightforward the role Gulager would take you to some mysterious place in his bemused contemplative mind. There was so much intelligence in his performances that you didn't mind him creating his own little story within the larger story.

Sarge Stallone, a young filmmaker of growing prestige, uses Gulagher to great effect in a short film called "Vic." Ever wonder what happens to actors--as opposed to stars--when time and taste requires them to retire? Well, you'll find out here and it ain't pretty. "Vic Reeves" former legend is on the downside.

The story in this slice of life comes when a young director calls Vic late at night and offers him the possibility of a role in a nee film. If he gets the part he can pay his bills and start eating right again. Right now the only two things he's got going for him are his Medicare card and his dog.

Gulager is great from start to finish. If I have a reservation it's that Stallone always goes for the Big Moment. You can only have so many Big Moments in a film, especially a short one. That said, the film is a well-observed tale of not only being old but being old in LA. Stallone has a reporter's eye for details, a virtue that will take him far.

Gulager's son Tom plays the director and does well with the role. Stallone fills out the cast with names from the past including Carol Lynley, John Phillip Law and Peter Mark Richman.

Gulager and company give us a moving look at a real life here. Everybody involved should be congratulated.


Evan Lewis said...

Good to see Clu again. Been a while since The Tall Man and The Virginian.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I always had a huge crush on him.
Especially in a drama where he played a blind man--wish I could remember the name.

Peter L. Winkler said...

I also had the privilege of seeing Vic. It has a nice tonal quality throughout and I like the way it pays tribute to many other actors who are forgotten but not gone. I also like the interview with Gulager, a perfect companion piece to the film.

RJR said...

Wish I could attend the Clu Gulager Film Festival some time. Always enjoyed his performances. He had his own style.


Bill Carlin said...

Absolutely spot on about the intelligence Gulager brought to his performances. I recently watched John Wayne's "McQ" (1974) after a gap of more than 30 years. It was refreshing to see Seattle used as a location rather than LA or New York. Although it was pretty much a "Dirty Harry" knock-off it has a great supporting cast. Gulager stands out as a strangely likeable villain / bad cop. I grew up watching "The Virginian" every week and always felt that he, as well as the late, great Doug McClure, should have been bigger stars.

John Kenyon said...

Ed, I wasn't familiar with Gulager until watching the 1964 version of "The Killers" starring him and Lee Marvin (from which the photo above is taken). The Criterion Collection version of "The Killers" has the original 1946 version and this and another short student film version all as part of the package... highly recommended. After seeing that performance, I wanted to know more about the guy. I'll have to track down "Vic." Thanks for the tip.

Anonymous said...

I also like Clu's comedic role in the the 80s classic Return of the Living Dead. He really has had quite a diverse career. Will be on the lookout for 'Vic'.